This is the first systematic study of the importance of Greek tragedy as a fundamental “intertext” for Vergil’s Aeneid. Vassiliki Panoussi argues that the epic’s representation of ritual acts, especially sacrifice, mourning, marriage, and maenadic rites, mobilizes a connection to tragedy. The tragic-ritual model offers a fresh look into the political and cultural function of the Aeneid, expanding our awareness of the poem’s scope, particularly in relation to gender, and presenting new readings of celebrated episodes, such as Anchises’ games, Amata’s maenadic rites, Dido’s suicide, and the killing of Turnus. Panoussi offers a new argument for the epic’s ideological function beyond pro- and anti-Augustan readings. She interprets the Aeneid as a work that reflects the dynamic nature of Augustan ideology, contributing to the redefinition of civic discourse and national identity. In her rich study, readers will find a unique exploration of the complex relationship between Greek tragedy and Vergil’s Aeneid and a stimulating discussion of problems of gender, power, and ideology in ancient Rome.
Part I. Ritual: 1. Ritual violence and the failure of sacrifice; 2. Suicide, devotion, and ritual closure; 3. The fragility of reconciliation: ritual restoration and the devine; 4. Maenad brides and the destruction of the city; 5. Mourning glory: ritual lament and Roman civic identity; Part II. Empire: 6. Heroic identity: Vergil's Ajax; 7. Contesting idealologies: ritual and empire.
"Panoussi provides us here with the first book-length study on the topic of the role of classical Greek tragedy in Vergil's Aeneid. The greatest achievement of this book undoubtedly is that it will be a starting point for many more future discussions on this topic. " --BMCR
"P[anoussi]wur's book is generally a well-organized model of clarity of purpose and clarity of expression. This book, thought-provoking and pleasurable to read, will likely open up dialogue on Vergil and tragedy for a new generation. She provides ample support from primary Greek and Latin sources as well as bountiful support from secondary sources. Since she cites primary texts in the original Greek and Latin and offers her own translations of all citations, her book will be useful not only for Vergil scholars but also for students in Classical Studies, Comparative Literature, English, and the Humanities. Well-written, informative footnotes not only provide reference but continue discussions begun in the main text. The full bibliography will be useful to the scholar and student alike. Readers of Vergil and readers of Greek Tragedy, classicists and students of the Classical Tradition will enjoy and learn much from this work." --Vergilius 2009.